Single page view By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

Congratulations, Lance. Bravo, bien fait, and all that.

Now -- will somebody give me back my damn body clock!

Lance Armstrong
Did you wake up to watch Lance? It was your last chance.

Lance Armstrong's epic run to a seventh Tour de France title was can't-miss stuff at The Cooler, an ode to history written by a living legend, but also the much-awaited -- by my Pacific Time Zone derriere, at least -- denouement to a run of must-see sports TV based in Europe. As in: Eight-to-nine-hours-ahead-of-California-time Europe.

It started with Wimbledon's final weekend on July 2 and 3 … moved on to Tiger Woods at St. Andrews on July 16 and 17 … and ended with Lance's final weekend Saturday and Sunday.

Now here's the deal: If you're a true sports fan, you have to see this stuff live. TiVo simply does not cut it when it comes to the Euro Big Three of Wimbledon, the British Open and the Tour. Sorry. TiVo is for wife-pleasing issues, like "Big Brother 6," or "Real World: Austin." But TiVo is a no-fly zone for a true sports fan when it comes to epic events.

There is something fundamentally wrong about not watching a big-time sporting event live. I'm serious. If I have to miss something like Wimbledon because of an early golf tee time, or a sleep-it-off hangover, I'll just go with the "SportsCenter" highlights. The moment has passed, not unlike the passing of that critical first week or two-week window of opportunity before a cute girl at work becomes a cute girl but just a friend at work.

Plus, if you want to TiVo, you have to do the whole avoid-the-Internet thing, and avoid-ESPNews thing. Just last week, I was at a picnic and was chatting with a fellow BBQ-er about Tiger's dominating romp at St. Andrews when a third BBQ-er offered up: "Well, thanks for ruining it, guys. I TiVoed the British Open and was going to watch it while I worked out."

I had 0.0 sympathy for the guy. If you are absolutely hell-bent on TiVoing a massive sporting event, then it is all on you to take every precaution if you dare go out in public. That means avoiding anybody who looks like you, dresses like you, or walks like you. It may mean breaking out earplugs. It means that if you're at a BBQ, and you want to watch the British Open in full-suspense mode, you have to converse only with the guy who is trying to throw a Nerf football but has that unmistakable I've-never-watched-a-sporting-event-in-my-life throwing motion.

It's just my DNA, but I can't roll like that.

So, that means early wake-ups on the weekend way out West. That means Venus and Lindsay and Andy and Roger going at it, while I drift in and out of an early morning haze. That means waking up in a panic and finding out that Tiger is already on the seventh hole -- even though it's 7 a.m. on a Sunday morn. That means repeating that wake-up panic and barely tuning in to OLN in time to see Lance pedal his way alongside the Seine. And it also means: a) Your weekend is screwed because you're in a daze most of the time; b) You are absolutely taking a key afternoon nap; and c) You have to watch in silence, whilst your loved ones slumber around you.



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